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Will protect India’s right to food security at WTO: Sharma

Ahead of next week's World Trade Organisation (WTO) meet in Bali, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Friday asserted that India will secure and protect its right to food security and strive for a permanent immunity from any kind of farm subsidy breach.
He also said that India will remain positively engaged with the other WTO members on farm subsidy and other issues, including Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The TFA is aimed at making international trade much easier by simplifying and streamlining custom procedures across the globe. The pact is billed to bring in gains worth $1 trillion for global trade.

There are fears that India's food security programme would breach the subsidy cap of 10 per cent under the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture. Developed countries have proposed an interim solution of four-year 'peace clause' during which period India would not attract penalty even if the 10 per cent cap is broken.

'It has been speculated that India has agreed to only four years protection (under the peace clause)...Let me put the record straight that India's final position will be made clear in the Ministerial statement,' Sharma told reporters here. The Bali Ministerial of the WTO is schedule 3-6 for December.

'We are also very clear that interim solution means interim solution until a permanent solution is put in place. In Bali, India expects all countries to commit to negotiating all issues for a permanent solution and this element separately and specifically to be focused under the separate work programme when it comes to food security,'
the minister said.
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